A Midsummer Night’s Dream Aug. 2009

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Now onto the REAL TREAT

Geraint Wyn Davies: A force of nature unleashed.

A tornado of positive energy, capturing the stage and having the audience in riotous laughs for the whole time.

And not once slipping with his funny – and sexy – accent.

I am in AWE!

First that I noticed (in Macbeth actually): the man has lost a lot of weight. He is really slim. (translate: looking even more gorgeous than ever).

Now I know why. What he does on stage is basically a three hour workout with barely breathing time.

Every line, every gesture, every expression leads to outbursts of laughter – and I don’t mean the raunchy comedy that is also part of the play and exceptionally hilarious:  His dimwitted yet unwittingly wise workman is the perfect How-to-do for this role. He brings the play back to its Shakespearean roots with all the bawdiness and slapstick-y fun but also helps bridge centuries with just a subtle glance or a wink that has the audience in stitches and is just priceless. For instance: The mask Bottom is forced to wear is made of shoes which substitute for the asses ears, and yellowed huge teeth (therefore luckily not much of a mask in terms of covering his face) but the way he carries it off has the audience in stitches.

The “actors” in the “play in the play” – of which Bottom is a part of – are in their undies for half of the time, but it’s the interaction with the “wall” that is the part that had me in tears of laughter. (I’m still glad I saw this 5 times, as quite frankly I doubt I’ve been able to catch everything the first time – a girl has to breathe too, you know!)

For anyone not familiar with the play: The Artisans are in reality workmen who play at Theseus’ wedding in Athens.

Bottom is a weaver (which is why his name is aptly chosen: it stands for the bottoms of the woven baskets he makes). The play they try to perform – with “amazingly little talent” – is Pyramus & Thisbe, a tragedy. the lovers, P. and Th., are separated and can only talk through a rip in a wall. (They elope, Thisbe is presumed dead, Pyramus kills himself, Th. is alive and kills herself over the body of P. – Romeo and Juliet, actually, but as a comedy; and probably not the right play for a wedding, but who cares!)

So they need a wall.

So one of the artisans holds a wooden construct with a bit of mortar in his hands and in front of his face which is lurking through a “window”. When Pyramus now looks for the rip in the wall – children, we’re all of age, I don’t even have to say where that damn rip is.

Now Bottom’s face when he realizes WHERE exactly he has to bend down to talk to Thisbe (who’s another man, btw.) – that’s just priceless.

Every couple of minutes there’s applause, then there’s the jig (I learned that in Shakespearean time a play always ended with a jig (a dance) or an epilogue. So Bottom dances a jig with Thisbe (and his belt dances with him and slips and slips a bit more…snort) and the play in the play ends.

There’s a little epilogue with Puck (Tom Rooney, he’s also VERY brilliant, tho’ definitely outplayed (is that a word?) by GWD)

And then all of a sudden, while the audience starts a last round of applause, music sets in and all the players are on stage to do a brilliantly choreographed dance in lieu of a curtain call. (so we’re all of a sudden back in Shakespeare’s time where a comedy ends in a jig!! – well, a dance to rock music, but you know what I mean)

And once again it’s GWD who’s so full of energy and power and sheer zest of life and everyone is clapping a faster and faster rhythm to which the whole company dances and then it’s .. over. sob.

He’s absolutely brilliant.

If you’re just able to see one show in a year, heck, a decade, run to see this one. it’s just amazing. They’ll talk about it in years to come.

Why the reviews didn’t do it justice, I don’t know. Obviously some of the journalists there were blind and deaf and dumb.

Audiences in five performances giving standing ovations like mad can’t be wrong.

I did catch Geraint Wyn Davies after this performance at the stage door and he was his usual charming and lovely self. At a later performance he did sign a photo for me – which I am very grateful for. My signed pictures of his performances are a wonderful reminder of the plays I saw and the trips I made. I am also very grateful that even after long performances (sometimes two a day!!) Mr. Wyn Davies is still taking his time, being charming, open and friendly to all his fans. I’m always awed by his charisma both on and off stage. I’m aware that the way he treats his fans is very rare and therefore very much appreciated by me (and all of his fans, I assume).


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